The market has continued to soften significantly in the Middle East Gulf, despite improved levels of enquiry, as a healthy supply of tonnage has continued to take its toll. There have also been a number of less preferred ships around, being ex dry dock or over 15 years of age. Consequently, rates for 270,000 tonnes short east have lost between 10/11 points and now sit at close to WS 50. Going further east, a run to the Philippines is understood to have been covered at WS 46 level. Unipec took Maran Callisto at WS 49 for China, while the 2000 built New Kassos which is also ex-drydock agreed WS 45 to China.
Going west, rates have lost around four points with Shell paying WS 34.5 cape/cape for US Gulf discharge basis 280,000 tonnes, but this business was fixed with wide discharge options which subsequently tend to pay a premium.
West Africa rates have moved in sympathy with the Middle East Gulf and Petroineos are understood to have paid WS 56 for China discharge representing a drop of around six points from the start of the week. Indian cargoes have also between covered at levels equating to around WS 55.25/57.25. Owners’ cause here is not being helped by a lack of Caribbean cargoes because of the continued supply problems in Venezuela, leading to tonnage ballasting either to West Africa or looking for export cargoes from Brazil. In the Mediterranean, Socar is understood to have taken Olympic Trophy for Ceyhan to Taiwan at $5.25 million.
In West Africa, rates are largely unchanged from the start of the week with a mid-week firming up to WS 87.5 before easing back to WS 85 on the back of light second decade enquiry and a US Gulf run was fixed at WS 78.75. With the Middle East Gulf market weakening, more eastern ballasters are now focusing on West Africa which could potentially lead to further softening here.
The Black Sea has been steady, holding at around WS 85/87.5 for 135,000 tonnes to Europe. In the Mediterranean, a Sidi Kerir to Spain cargo was covered at WS 72.5 basis 140,000 tonnes while 135,000 tonnes from Ceyhan/Donges went at W S79.
Going east, Sidi Kerir/Singapore was covered by Unipec at around $2.3 million with a China option at $2.9 million while an early June cargo from Algeria to Thailand is said to have paid $3.25 million.
There has been more activity in the Mediterranean, leading to a thinning tonnage list and after ENI managed to squeeze the market down to WS 79 for a Sidi Kerir/Italy voyage, rates have regained some lost ground, looking more settled at WS 85/87.5 with the Black Sea paying similar levels and with a lack of reliable positions, brokers feel there is potential for modest improvement here.
In the Baltic, with a long weekend approaching, owners have been keen to gain coverage and rates here have eased from WS 95 at the start of the week to settle between WS 87.5 / 90. The 80,000 tonnes cross-North Sea market has mirrored the Baltic, with the market now around WS 115, representing a loss of around WS 2.5 from the start of the week.
The Caribbean has been the best performer for owners with another active week and the lack of reliable positions has enabled owners to push the market up around 15 points to settle at WS 142.5.
It has been another difficult week for owners with fixing and failing and plenty of tonnage around resulting in rates for 55,000 tonnes from ARA to US Gulf stagnant in the low WS 90s.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade, rates have been flat at around WS 115, although there is a report of WS 112.5 being on subjects while Port Jerome and Mongstad cargoes which tend to pay a premium have achieved WS 117.5/120 respectively.
On the 38,000 tonnes backhaul run from US Gulf/UK Cont , it has been another disappointing week for owners, with levels easing a further 2.5 WS points to settle now at WS 77.5
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